I love the buildup to Christmas. I love the anticipation during the month of December. I love all of the music, TV specials, and Advent services at church before Christmas. I’m finding, though, that one of my favorite times during Christmas is the day and days after Christmas.
This year we had Christmas at our house. We didn’t feel like traveling and we had the ultimate bargaining chip, two little grandchildren. So everyone descended upon our house and it was chaos. Beautiful chaos, mind you, but chaos nonetheless. Here is where I have to reiterate that are very, very, (I’ll even add another very for emphasis) very blessed with our family. We don’t have the drama most families have at Christmas. We just have a loud, good time. Adriene’s parents had been staying with us for a couple days and my parents arrived in the morning. There were piles and piles of gifts to be opened, mostly for the girls, of course. All of the gifts were wonderful, my brother-in-law even delivered with some of my favorites of this year, though I have to say I don’t think I got anything I didn’t like. Still, it was chaos, beautiful chaos, and the girls were clearly overstimulated by all the noise and people. By the time evening came around, they were pretty fussy and irritable and so it was a bit of a rushed, hurried exit for everyone as they tried to leave before it got too dark and we contended with two unhappy infants. Then it was night and the house was quiet. The girls finally settled down and there was peace. And it was beautiful. The house was turned upside down and there were boxes and wrapping paper and opened gifts everywhere, but we’ll tend to that later. We sat in the low light in the house and played some Christmas music. There was peace. And it was beautiful.
I love the week after Christmas, because I usually have the week off from work and my schedule is usually pretty open. It’s a great time of reflection over the past year for me. I use the time to sort through junk in my office and throw out stuff I should have thrown out earlier in the year. I veg out and play video games for unreal amount of hours. Every year, some friends of mine have a small gathering where we play video games all night (this year was Rock Band, I totally nailed singing “Orange Crush” by REM. On Easy. But still.) and afterwards I love driving home and seeing all the Christmas lights in the towns around Atlanta one last time before everything is put up.
Some friends of mine leave their Christmas tree up all the way to January 6. Epiphany. Twelve days after Christmas (you know… “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me….”) I don’t know how long our tree will stay up, but I like that Christmas doesn’t immediately vanish on December 25. I listen to a lot of Christmas music in December and I don’t like to totally cut it out on the day after Christmas, so I usually slowly phase it out and start mixing in other music. Terry Taylor has a song called “Song For the Day After Christmas” that reminds us to reflect and remember Christmas, even as we’re putting away all of the decorations and trying to lose all of that holiday weight. This year has brought a lot of big changes in our lives and for just a couple of days, it will be nice to reflect on the year before jumping head first into 2008.